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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Saturday, April 18, 2020  

Today’s Hymn

Lord Jesus, think on me, nor let me go astray.
Through darkness and perplexity point thou the heavenly way.

Lord Jesus, think on me, that, when this life is past,
I may the eternal brightness see, and share thy joy at last.

“Lord Jesus, Think on Me” (vv. 34) by Synesius of Cyrene
Hymn 417, Glory to God: The Presbyterian Hymnal

My earliest memory of Christian faith, circa age five, was a “conversion” moment. My concerned parents shared with me that if I decided to follow Jesus, I would go to heaven someday. If I didn’t, I would have to go to hell instead. Hell didn’t sound great, so I chose Jesus. Check, fire insurance secured.

As a teenager I took more ownership of my faith, opting to get baptized for the first time and then immersing myself in piety and Christian community. It wasn’t until adulthood that, after years of learning from many denominations and flavors of fellow Christians, I understood that the life of following Jesus is not one rooted in fear but in hope.

The ancient hymn highlighted today, conceived in the fifth century and adapted for modern use more than a millennium later, is an expression of Christ-centered hope. Despite Synesius’s surroundings of political and religious tumult, the author focused on renewal to come. The sober lyrics imply desired relief from suffering but don’t dwell on it. Synesius was mostly motivated by the prospect of eternal fellowship with Jesus.

I know my parents were well-intentioned in presenting me with a salvific ultimatum. That spiritual foundation, problematic or not, started me on a journey of maturation that continues to shape my existence today. But I don’t spend much time thinking about the mysteries of “the afterlife” very often anymore. Like Synesius, I’m more interested in the simple invitation Jesus offers: for all who want it, a restored world and a lasting kingdom await beyond this earthly season. That’s a policy worth sticking with.

Risen Jesus, thank you for the invitation to share in your resurrection, in this life and beyond. Help me focus on goodness and hope, regardless of the suffering I endure. Amen.

Written by Michael Mirza, Director of Worship

Reflection and Prayer © Fourth Presbyterian Church

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